COMPOSERS: JOE LOVANO • US FIVE
LABELS: Blue Note
PERFORMER: Joe Lovano (sax), James Weidman (piano), Esperanza Spalding (bass), Otis Brown III, Francisco Mela (drums),
CATALOGUE NO: 905 8612
US Five is the quirky twin drummer vehicle driven by sax behemoth Joe Lovano. His second album with the group, the aim was to imagine how Charlie Parker might have developed further within his compositions as an improviser, arranger and bandleader.
Lovano, a bear-like man but with a nimble technique and friendly, woody tone has drawn on his heroes for inspiration before, from Caruso to Sinatra. But this is different again because Lovano can really relate to Parker through the horn so we can trace the line back to the originals, be it ‘Moose The Mooche’, ‘Lover Man’ or ‘Birdyard’.
However, the sound that results is deceptive because, although Bird’s themes are clear, it’s as if they have been turned on their side by Lovano’s crafty melodic and rhythmic settings (two independent drummers!). That’s what makes Lovano a true jazz great: he’s rooted in the past but he’s looking to the future. Garry Booth